Powell stands firm to slow Kent's progress

Warwickshire 178-8 Kent

Nick Knight's failure to win the toss in even one Championship match this season can hardly be said to have handicapped Warwickshire, who began the latest round of matches at the head of the First Division table. Yesterday, however, their customary script was mislaid.

Nick Knight's failure to win the toss in even one Championship match this season can hardly be said to have handicapped Warwickshire, who began the latest round of matches at the head of the First Division table. Yesterday, however, their customary script was mislaid.

Brummies are so used to seeing runs by the bucket-load that a first-innings total of less than 400 by Warwickshire is regarded as below par. A scoreboard displaying 52 for 6 in the 23rd over was a serious shock to the system.

A recovery of sorts followed, as the opener Michael Powell staged a one-man show of defiance spanning more than three hours, but it still needed Heath Streak and Neil Carter to spare them deeper embarrassment, the ninth-wicket pair sharing an unbroken stand of 62.

Kent's mood is belligerent. They would have gone to Edgbaston in second place but for being docked eight points for a poor pitch after their victory over Gloucestershire at Maidstone. Their appeal is due to be heard at Lord's this morning.

Not that, after the first session was lost to rain, any particular venom in their bowling could explain Warwickshire's poor showing on a green-tinged but blameless pitch. The ball from Amjad Khan that removed Knight in the third over looked fairly horrible, nipping back a touch and keeping low, but otherwise the damage was largely self-inflicted.

Ian Bell would have felt particularly annoyed with himself, an unconvincing hook in Khan's next over bottom-edging into his stumps. Jonathan Trott nibbled at one from Simon Cook, who then produced some extra bounce to find the edge of Alex Loudon's bat. Jim Troughton and Dougie Brown may as well have been giving catching practice.

Powell was on 15 when the sixth wicket fell, looking on in some disbelief. At last he found at least a semi-adhesive partner in Tony Frost. Together they added 62 in 22 overs, Frost resisting every temptation as his colleague ground his way to 49. A half-century would have been appropriate reward but he pushed forward to a ball from Cook and was taken at second slip.

Frost then gave a high catch to slip when cutting at Darren Stevens, leaving Warwickshire 116 for 8, at which point their lowest total for a completed first innings in six seasons - 142 at Worcester in August 2000 - was under threat, before Streak and Carter restored a little sanity.

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